"Corran!" I couldn't friggin' believe it. He was sneaking around the basement, not calling out for Anti and Wes, and had obviously scared them beyond comprehension. What an idiot! The pilot in question whirled around to face a very angry me. "What exactly do you think you're doing?"
"Looking for Antigone and Wes. I found 'em!" He said proudly, pointing to Anti, who was on her feet, managing to look pissed off and relieved at the same time, and Wes, who was still on the floor, still looking scared. Corran either didn't realize that I was angrier than all get-out, or he (stupidly) chose to ignore it.
"Yeah, but are you insane? You didn't even yell! They must've thought you were a flesh-eating zombie or something." I glared at him. "Duh, Corran." I flicked on my comlink. "Yeah, I found 'em, Wedge....yeah, everyone's fine. We'll be back up in a few." I flicked it off before starting in on Corran again. "What were you thinking exactly?"
Corran opened his mouth but before anything came out, Antigone interrupted him. "Hey, Corran?"
"Where'd you get the flashlight?"
"Oh." Antigone sighed. "Can we go back upstairs now?"
"Yes." Wes finally stood up with a subdued jingle, brushing off his pants. "Upstairs. Now."
"Anti, I hate to say this, but we still have to get the lights back on." I braced myself for her reaction ("Noooooo!").
"We couldn't find it. Let's go back upstairs." Antigone's manner seemed a bit off to me, but I figured well, she's just had the scare of her life. She needs time to get over it.
"OK. This place reminds me of Blair Witch anyway."
"What--what kind of witch?" Wes asked shakily.
"You don't want to know," I said seriously. "I hate that movie." Wes bit his lower lip and grabbed Antigone's hand. Anti motioned for me to lead the way out of that creepy basement. I was only too glad to do so so I snatched the flashlight from Corran's hand and marched out.
We wove our way through the maze of moldy rooms, Wes clutching Antigone's hand the whole way. After what seemed like forever (and was too damn long in any case), we found the stairs leading back up. Cue the Collective Sigh of Relief.
I figured the safest thing to do would be to wall over the door to the basement completely so no one else could go down there and get lost forever in the labyrinth of damp rooms. Not having any bricks, Corran and I heaved a massive piece of cabinetry against the door. I hoped that would do the job.
By the time we got back to the ballroom, Corran still hadn't figured out I was angry with him. He kept up an endless stream of prattle (mostly about his father and how he'd have flushed out the haunted armor and found Sydney in no time) until I really wanted to smack him. I didn't, mostly because I'm too much of a wuss and well, you just shouldn't hit people. It's mean. Anyway, once he saw no one was listening, he finally wandered off.
I looked over at a sorry something sprawled on the Victorian-era couch by the 'fire'. Looked closer and discovered that it was an utterly knocked-out Gavin. There was an empty vodka bottle in his pocket. 'Why would Wes have vodka?' I mused, remembering Antigone yanking Wes off by the ear right before the lights had gone out. 'Let alone give it to Gavin. Wes isn't that stupid. Huh.' Despite Gavin's unattractive appearance, I felt like a drink, too. It had been that kind of night.
I was halfway to the cauldrons when a hand stopped me. "Oh no you don't. He's finally asleep. I don't need another drunken teenager on my hands." Wedge let go of my wrist.
"Just one cup? One isn't any big deal. It's mostly cider, anyway," I pleaded.
"Fine." I shrugged.
"I need you to keep that cool head of yours, anyway," Wedge said matter-of-factly.
"You seem to be taking all of this inordinately well. Better than most of us, anyway. Unless you're just putting on a brave face and you're really more freaked out than the rest of us."
"There's nothing to be scared of."
"How do you figure? I mean, Antigone and Wes both seemed really scared when they came out of the basement."
I couldn't help feeling a bit warm and tingly. Wedge thought I was brave! Wow. "It's the castle. It's really old and atmospheric, and people just watch too many horror flicks."
"So you're saying it's all in our heads?" I nodded. "So where's Sydney?"
Dammit. He vaped me. I shouldn't have been surprised. I mean, that's Wedge. But dammit anyhow. My shoulders slumped and I couldn't look him in the face.
"Hey, I didn't expect you to know." He threw an arm around my shoulders. I imagine we matched quite well, him in his Robin Hood getup, me in my serving wench dress. "Now how 'bout that drink?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Yep. Well, for you, anyway. I'm having one." He sat on the couch next to the comatose Gavin and motioned for me to sit next to him.
"Nah. Send me somewhere. I'd rather look for Syd than sit and watch you drink."
Wedge nodded. "Fair enough. Well, I'd rather you weren't alone. It's obviously not safe, so go catch up with --"
There was a sudden pounding at the door.
Continued in Part Thirteen